Last Months in Marble…

Development for KDE 4.6 is going on for quite some time now and the first (soft) feature freeze is appearing on the horizon. A good point to look into recent and planned changes in Marble. Again this is biased towards routing in Maemo, though the same features will be available in the Desktop version of course. All screenshots below (including the picture) were taken today on my N900.

Alternative Routes

Multiple routing backends are now queried in parallel. The best route is chosen and displayed, but you can conveniently switch to any alternative route: Just click anywhere on an alternative route (displayed in gray) to activate it.

Left or right? Choose the route you like best.

Worldwide Routing

Online routing in Marble 0.10 (KDE 4.5) is limited to Europe, the supported area of OpenRouteService. The integration of Yours as another routing backend brings worldwide routing to Marble. While working great, we may have to deactivate this feature in the release version however — it is running on a development server whose lifetime may be too short.

Offline Routing

Internet access may not be available while traveling, or cost a lot. This is where offline routing, the capability to calculate routes without Internet access, comes into play. Marble supports different offline routing backends, namely Gosmore, Monav and Routino. I’m currently evaluating whether it’s possible to distribute Monav with our Maemo packages and host Monav maps for all countries on KDE servers. Offline routing maps for the countries you’re interested in could then be conveniently installed directly from Marble with a single click (Get New Stuff in the Desktop version and a stripped down version of it on the N900).

The screenshot below shows an outline of the area covered by the four offline maps currently installed on my N900: Baden-Wurttemberg (yellow, 210 MB), Germany (orange polygon, 538 MB), Austria (orange rectangles, 95 MB) and Switzerland (blue, 54 MB).

KML outlines of the installed offline maps

Turn-by-Turn / Route Guidance Mode

Originating in the project of my GSOC student Siddharth Srivastava, you can now activate a turn-by-turn navigation mode: The visible area of the map follows the current GPS location and turn instructions are displayed as necessary. It is extended by another recent addition, the route guidance mode. In case you deviate from the planned route, a new route is calculated starting at the deviated position.

Who says Q/A work can't be fun?

Improved User Interface

The sidebar with its tabs takes much space on devices with small screens. To improve this, we trimmed the available tabs down to what is really needed, moving some things to the map (“float items”) and turning other into dialogs like the Map View:

Even More…

There are a couple of other additions like route printing support in the Desktop version, automatic state saving and possibly some more I’m forgetting right now. Moreover, Niko Sams is working on another great feature: Configuration of routing profiles. It will allow you to fine-tune the routing backends and create custom profiles like a mountain-bike one.

My focus in the next week will be on finishing the new features and polishing everything to make sure we’ll have another rocking release ready. I hope to have alpha/beta packages ready as well in time to get tests from more users. Get your devices ready 😉

10 Replies to “Last Months in Marble…”

  1. Very impressive and informational blog post. Sadly my N800’s screen is not working correctly, so I can not try this out yet, but assuming that I can still get Maemo to work on the N800, when I get it fixed, I have something to look forward to.

    I have to admit that if I have a ‘rootable’ Android Linux distro, that might pull me away from Maemo, perhaps…the jury is still out.

    It makes total sense to have the ability to use our embedded devices (handhelds/phones) whether we can connect to the Internet or not. Regardless of the method of connection, for me cellular is out, just not cutting it anymore…not enough bang for the monthly buck. But that is my choice.

    Root-able devices (smart phones) give us choices and that is a very healthy thing to have.

    No Root ~ Dumb device.

    I know if I can put Linux on the device that I can use applications like the offline routing backends you mentioned in your blog post. Thank you.

  2. Great job!marble is becoming a powerful application with a very intresting pluggable architecture and so many useful feature,it has nothing to envy from gooogleearth,and i think the most important steps you are doing is developing it for mobile devicies(hoping nokia will keep maemo/meego) ,thank you!

  3. This is amazing. Some of these features were to be expected, but all the work you have been doing seems to be coming together now, making Marble a more or less full-fledged navigation program. This is nothing short of astonishing. Kudos to all developers!

  4. @Henri: I added a Maemo category now and requested aggregation on planet maemo.

    @anonim: Once we get the packages to build on the automated build server… I myself tried to register for uploading there twice, but never got a reply. Another Marble developer has access, but is currently busy with other things. Maybe I should try a third time.

    @Thomas: Please report bugs here:

    @others: Thanks 🙂

  5. Where can you actually install Marble for maemo? The KDE-edu page references a maemo version but offers no link.

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